Perhaps the most interesting match-up in Nashville's upcoming Western Conference semi-finals series against the Vancouver Canucks will be the battle between the pipes. Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo were two of the most dominant goaltenders in the regular season, posting stellar numbers and each earning a Vezina nomination along the way.
But that doesn't necessarily mean this will be a low-scoring series. Both net minders have struggled to find their regular season form in their respective first-round match-ups.
Follow after the jump for a closer look at Rinne and Luongo.
#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators
Nov 03, 1982
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||64||3789||33||22||134||2.12||1905||1771||.930||6|
Pekka Rinne was easily the MVP of the Nashville Predators this year. Predator fans can't count the number of times he bailed them out during the regular season, taking over a game in the third period, or making the big save when it counted. Rinne got off to a good start in Game 1, however, he struggled down the stretch before eventually being pulled after letting up 6 goals in Game 4. But Rinne finished strong, making critical saves down the stretch in Game 5 and especially Game 6.
#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks
Apr 04, 1979
|2010 - Roberto Luongo||60||3590||38||15||126||2.11||1753||1627||.928||4|
Fresh off of a gold medal campaign in the 2010 Winter Olympics, Luongo picked up right where he left off, posting a career best in goals against, and second-best for save percentage in the 2010-2011 season. Luongo was similarly dominant in Vancouver's first three games, including a shutout in Game 1. Games 4 and 5 were a different story, however. Luongo allowed 6 and 4 goals, respectively, before getting pulled in favor of Cory Shneider each time. Shneider was given the nod in Game 6, but went down with an injury with the game still tied 3-3. Chicago won 4-3, with the game-winner given up by - you guessed it - Luongo. He was able to bounce back in Game 7, however, stopping 31 of 32 shots in the Vancouver win.
This second-round series is a fresh start, and an opportunity for both goaltenders to return to the level of play that earned them Vezina nominations. If they play well, the series could feature a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 finishes. However, if their respective slumps continue, look out. This could be a higher-scoring series than most people think.